2024 VPS Corporate Staff

Myra J. Powell

Myra J. Powell

President/CEO

Myra Johnson Powell, MSW, ACSW, founded Vanguard Professional Staffing in 1999 after more than 25 years of social work practice experience, twenty with a local department of social services in both adult and child welfare direct service delivery, case management, supervision, division management, and top-level administration. She worked for 5 years in university social work academia, conducting public welfare-related training and research, as well as teaching in both undergraduate and graduate programs.  She views social work and human services staffing as a continuation of her indirect social work practice.

Kim D. Harrell

Kim D. Harrell

Executive Officer

Kim D. Harrell has over 30 years of DSS experience.  She worked as a social worker in adult and children’s services and was a child welfare supervisor for over 20 years.  Kim served as Director of a consolidated county DSS for the last 8 years of her DSS career.  As Director of a consolidated agency her work experience spans both DSS and Public Health.  She has served as President of the NC Director’s Association and has chaired many state committees throughout her tenure.

Denise Boyette

Denise Boyette

Operations Officer

Denise Boyette, BSW, worked for a county department of social services for 27 years as a social worker, supervisor, Child Welfare Program Manager, Social Work Program Administrator, Deputy Director, and Interim Director. She worked in and managed all aspects of Child Protective Services, continuous quality improvement/training team, as well as Adult Services, Work First/employment, and adolescent parenting programs. In addition to her direct case work and supervisory/management experience, she also has a high level of experience in grant writing, personnel policy, and local agency budgeting.

Nicki Perry

Nicki Perry

Staffing Officer

Nicki Perry, Staffing Officer has over 32 years of DSS experience.  Nicki has worked in and supervised all programs in adult services and child welfare during her career.  She has over 28 years of experience in management and leadership. Nicki served as DSS Director for 22.5 years.  During her career with DSS, she served on and chaired numerous local and state committees. Nicki served as President of the NC Association of County Directors of Social Services from 2011-2012 and was voted the NCACDSS Director of the Year in 2014.

Rebecca B. Brigham, MSW

Rebecca B. Brigham, MSW

Staffing Manager/Development Officer

Rebecca B. BrighamMSW, is a Staffing Manager specializing in out-of-county foster care visitation and services development.  She has 20 years of child welfare experience, beginning as a county DSS social worker and later as a Program Manager (Foster Care) and Program Administrator (Staff Development) at the North Carolina Division of Social Services.  She has also worked for several NC non-profit agencies in the areas of foster care and adoption.  Prior to joining Vanguard Professional Staffing, Ms. Brigham worked for 20 years as the Assistant Dean of Field Education at the UNC School of Social Work.

Debbie Price Longo

Debbie Price Longo

Training Coordinator

Debbie Price Longo, BSW, ACBSW is a Training Coordinator. She worked for a county department of social services for over 24 years as a social worker, supervisor, Child Welfare Program Manager. She has been a trainer and educator since 1998 and has trained social workers in child welfare for the State of North Carolina. She worked in protective services with abused children, adopted children, and foster children and their families, as well as family planning, domestic violence, rape and incest counseling. She is a certified MAPPS/GPS trainer. She has managed staffing in multiple states and urban and rural settings.

Tara Weller

Tara Weller

Senior Business Assistant

Tara Weller has served as recruiter as well as administrative assistant to both our business office and placement team, which has led her to her current role as Senior Business Assistant.  Prior to that, she spent 11 years in the educational field.  Her organizational and communication skills aid in identifying and screening qualified candidates and assisting job seekers, as well as overseeing the company's day-to-day business operations.

Karen Wilson

Karen Wilson

Recruiting Specialist

Karen Wilson, Recruiting Specialist has over 31 years of DSS experience.  Karen worked in and supervised numerous Adult and Family Programs.  For the last 15 years Karen was a Staff Development Specialist training all staff in various areas.  Karen worked with various nonprofits and managed a local food pantry and has extensive knowledge in all Human Services Programs and community support services.

Angie Benson

Angie Benson

HR & Payroll Specialist

Angie Benson retired from Johnston County DSS after 30 years of service.  While her first nine years were in the clerical unit, her last 20 years were in the Administration unit.  Her work in that unit included payroll, managing and tracking state and federal reimbursements and reports, trust accounts, payments to foster care providers and various other miscellaneous duties.  Her understanding of DSS administration is very valuable to her work as HR & Payroll Specialist at VPS.

Michael Allman

Michael Allman

Administrative Assistant

Michael Allman joined us as our Administrative Assistant in January 2020. He has retired from 48 years of background in the plastics industry, mostly in a technical/supervisory/administrative capacity. Having been at the forefront of the businesses that he has served, he has developed an overall understanding of business office essentials. This background also brings an organizational and communicative skill set that serves to enhance the overall experience of our clients.

Sharon J. Bartholomew

Sharon J. Bartholomew

Administrative Assistant

Sharon J. Bartholomew has years of administrative experience in private business and public health. Her primary role is the communication with, and validation of, candidates who apply with Vanguard.

Hillary Bartholomew

Hillary Bartholomew

Administrative Assistant

Hillary Bartholomew has been a part of the VPS team for several years. She works behind the scenes performing administrative duties for our Placement team, managing our company’s database and assisting with our payroll functions.